Grants Announced to Help Bring Boost to Mental Health

A new grants scheme was launched on 22nd April 2024 to help more people from urban areas access the South Downs National Park for its mental health and wellbeing benefits.

The profound impact of green spaces and being in nature to help manage depression, anxiety, stress and loneliness are becoming better understood as each year goes by.

Stedham Common in West Sussex by Sam Moore

Now, ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week in May, the National Park Authority is launching an initiative to help local community groups make the most of the tranquil and wildlife-rich landscape on their doorstep.

The Health and Wellbeing Travel Grants are particularly aimed at communities on the urban fringes across Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey that may not have had access to the National Park before and might struggle with transport costs.

The initiative is being launched in partnership with Community Transport Sussex, which is able to provide a minibus service to and from the National Park.

Kate Drake, Health and Wellbeing Officer for the National Park, said: “National Parks are part of the nation’s support system for health and wellbeing and research shows that as little as two hours per week outdoors can be beneficial to one’s health and quality of life.

“We conducted a study and found that while some people want to access the National Park for its mental health benefits, the issue of transport can be a barrier for some groups.

Old Winchester Hill in Hampshire by Anne Purkiss

“These grants aim to overcome this by providing community groups with extra support to cover travel costs so they can come to the South Downs and have a wonderful, uplifting and restoring day-out surrounded by nature.

“This initiative is part of our widening work around green social prescribing, providing a ‘natural health service’ to help people dealing with a range of mental and physical issues.

“We’ve also identified a number of ‘health and wellbeing hubs’ in the National Park that are ideal places for groups to visit and get involved in nature-based activities.”

Cuckmere Haven in East Sussex by Sam Moore


The travel grants are up to the value of £250 to cover transport costs and are being funded by the National Park Authority, with additional support from the South Downs Trust, the official charity of the National Park. Find out more and apply for a grant by visiting


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